The ‘boda boda’ has gone main stream after making it to the latest Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary.
The word boda boda may be part of our Ugandan or East African vocabulary but it’s not a word you could define using the dictionary. That has changed. Now when you look it up in the ninth edition of the dictionary or its online equivalent, the boda boda has a definition.
The definition describes the boda boda as: “(in some countries) a type of motorcycle or bicycle with a space for a passenger or for carrying goods, often used as a taxi.” The dictionary even describes it as East African English. The word is yet to make it to the learner’s version of the dictionary but there is no denying that we have arrived!
There has been a lot of online celebration about this milestone for our vocabulary, as would be expected. And true to expectations, some UOT found a way to create humour around this development.
There are those who took the route of thanking Museveni or NRM for every good thing that happens in Uganda.
So where did this boda boda word come from. As people who lived through those times tell us, the word started those days when people smuggled goods into the country. Motorcycles especially were used to smuggle goods, and sometimes people, to and from the borders. Soon the word evolved into boda boda.
What word is next? The Rolex perhaps?